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146342.  Tue Feb 13, 2007 6:05 am Reply with quote

The Goethe Institute in London ran a competition last year to find “the German word whose acceptance into English would most improve our language.”

Some of the nominees: Backpfeifengesicht, a face that makes you want to hit it;
Kummerspeck, "grief bacon", for an excessive gain in weight caused by overeating prompted by emotional problems.

The winner was Fachidiot. “Literally ‘subject idiot,’ it refers to a person who has become such an academic specialist, so deeply immersed in his subject, that he has lost all interest in or understanding of what is going on in the world around him.” (A very QI concept).

Meanwhile the Deutsche Sprachrat, the German Language Council, part of the Goethe Institute, ran a contest called Word Migrations, for the German word that has most interestingly moved into another language.

One suggestion was Vasistas (“Was ist das?,” French for a skylight or fanlight.) The winner was "Kaffepaussi", Finnish for a coffee break or temporary break in service.

Source: World Wide Words, 16 Dec 06.

146558.  Tue Feb 13, 2007 2:19 pm Reply with quote

Zeitgeist is practically an English word these days, as is Schadenfreude. And Zugzwang ought to be.

Nice idea for a question, maybe in a "Europe" show, I think.


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